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New Year Honours: Dr David Llewellyn to be made CBE

Posted 1 January

"I am extremely fortunate to have worked with some amazing people, and I should like to pay tribute to them for their support, without which this recognition would not have been possible."

Man in suit stands smiling in front of red brick building

Dr David Llewellyn CBE

Former Harper Adams University Vice-Chancellor, Dr David Llewellyn, is to be made a Commander of the Order of the British Empire for his services to higher education, agriculture and rural industries.

Dr Llewellyn, who retired in July 2021, features in the 2022 New Year Honours roll announced today, and will follow in the footsteps of other leading figures in industry, the arts and public life in being awarded the CBE.

Commenting on the announcement, Dr Llewellyn said: “The award of the CBE is a great honour and a wonderful surprise. I am extremely fortunate to have worked with some amazing people, and I should like to pay tribute to them for their support, without which this recognition would not have been possible. In particular, I should like to thank the staff and students at Harper Adams University, and colleagues from industry and elsewhere, who have done so much to help turn our ideas into reality and to enable the University to develop a strong reputation for its educational and research activities. I am extremely grateful to them all, as well as to my family, whose encouragement has been so important in all that I have done throughout my career.”

Peter Nixon, Chair of the Board of Governors of Harper Adams University said: “I am delighted to see David’s work in higher education, and for agri-food and rural industries being recognised and would like to offer my congratulations on behalf of the University.”

Dr Llewellyn worked at Harper Adams University for 23 years, leading the institution, first as Principal, then as Vice-Chancellor, for the latter 12 years. During this time the institution experienced an extremely successful period in its history.

Under Dr Llewellyn’s inspirational leadership and vision, Harper Adams achieved University status in 2012. The University also gained multiple national awards and was the highest ranked modern university for six consecutive years in The Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide, in which it was named Modern University of the Year twice, as well as being named runner-up for UK University of the Year.

In 2004 he set up the Harper Adams Development Trust, raising funds for high quality learning opportunities for students and staff, personally writing bids for funding. Due to his dedication, scholarships grew from £17,000 to more than £500k per annum – levels matched only by a few large higher education institutions.

Harper Adams also secured more than £50 million in capital investment due to Dr Llewellyn’s determination to create innovative bids focused on the needs of current and future students, staff and industry.

He was instrumental in creating the National Centre for Precision Farming, home of the agricultural engineering team and its world-leading Hands Free Hectare project that won the Queens Anniversary Prize for Higher and Further Education; he promoted, at national level, engineering elements of the national Agri-Tech Strategy; and he helped establish the ground-breaking and largest project to date in the University’s 120-year history - The Harper & Keele Veterinary School, the only joint vet school in the UK.

Launched in 2020, the School is already delivering its vision of opening up opportunities to address national shortages, retention, diversity and inclusion challenges in the veterinary profession, as well as linking important aspects of veterinary practice with the world of agricultural higher education.

Dr Llewellyn’s dedication to supporting and representing the interests of all small and specialist HE institutions nationally was demonstrated through his commitment to GuildHE, one of the two higher education sector representative bodies, of which Dr Llewellyn was Chair in the period immediately before his retirement.

He also worked tirelessly to represent the interests of agriculture and agricultural education at the highest levels, most recently as a founding member of the Skills Development Board which helped create The Institute for Agriculture and Horticulture. Widely respected as a leading figure in agri-food higher education, Dr Llewellyn promoted the interests of UK agriculture, at home and abroad, as well as the importance of research and technology in driving innovation and creating a skilled workforce for future sustainability and food security.

Recognition for his work included being appointed a Fellow of the Institution of Agricultural Engineers and of the Royal Agricultural Societies, and President of the East of England Agricultural Society. He held numerous other positions on national boards that addressed the issue of skills requirements in the agri-food industries. He was tenacious in ensuring the University had a positive impact on local and national economic growth through his membership of the Marches Local Enterprise Partnership Board and by developing the concept of the Newport Innovation Park. NiPark is securing inward investment focused on the growing agri-tech cluster that supports regional and national aspirations for sustainable food production in UK agriculture.

Throughout his career, Dr Llewellyn was passionately committed to high quality education that supported others to make a real difference to their communities at home and abroad.

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